Re: consciousness based on information or computation?

From: Marchal <>
Date: Tue Feb 16 01:07:52 1999

Sherry wrote :

>Just (= Bruno) wrote, in part:
> <<Only a person can be conscious.>>
>I am wondering..just when was that theory proven?...:-)

I suspect y're jooking. But with the mail it is difficult to judge the degree of jokeness :-)... (If I can put it this way).

What I mean is :

Consciousness is private. This entails, by definition, an owner.
Consciousness is subjective. This entails, by definition, a subject.
Consciousness is personal. This entails, by definition, a person.

I'm open minded, and I'm willing to attribute consciousness to a lot of creatures, from amoeba to extraterrestrian (if there is one).
But in each case I attribute consciousness to some one, I recognize that ONE. And I call it a person. (not necessarily a human person!).

So it is not a question of proof or theory, it is a question of vocabulary in philosophy of mind.
You should perhaps read the very interesting work of Penfield(), which illustrates that in all case of brain injury (even very severe one), once consciousness is present, then "kind of people" are there (even if the personnality is broken, wounded, multiplied, etc.)
If you are willing to accept consciousness without an "experiencer" then, honestly, I'm not sure what you mean by the word.

And that is why, although I agree with most of Wei Dai's propositions, I think he will not been able to convince, neither Jacques M Mallah, nor Gilles Henry, when he used expressions such as "a string can be conscious". This expression is too elliptical. I would say more cautiously that a string is enough to incarnate conscious being, or something like that ...


() Penfield, W., 1975 The Mystery of Mind, Princeton University Press,
New Jersey
Received on Tue Feb 16 1999 - 01:07:52 PST

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